Will US be forced to take unilateral action in Syria?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The perpetuation of the status quo is in no way static. It is, in fact, a recipe for intensified conflict, increased terrorism, and a proxy war that could engulf the region. This is the third time in ten months that two members, Russia and China, have prevented the Security Council from responding credibly to the Syrian conflict. The first two vetoes they cast were very destructive. This veto is more dangerous and deplorable.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations today, Susan Rice, saying Russia and China with a veto are killing more Syrians, innocent Syrians. That happened today at the U.N. Meantime, in Syria, that is what we're hearing on the ground, more than 250 massacred according to a human rights group out of Great Britain watching Syria. What is the latest concern on the ground in Syria and where it's going? We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: When you hear the spokesman at the U.N. speaking and you know the policy is getting weirder and weirder. The impassioned denunciation of Russia over the veto is OK. But at the same time the White House is releasing a read-out of the discussion that Putin had on the phone with Obama in which they say the presidents agree there has to be x, y, z, a peaceful transition, et cetera, et cetera. Why are we agreeing on the Russians on one hand and denouncing them at the U.N. on the other? Why are we speaking about the Russians? The Russians are anathema in Syria and the regime will fall. Those people know that Russia has been working to kill them. We have been on the sidelines or giving rhetorical help.

We ought to speak with the Turks and the Saudis and the Europeans, speaking on our own and not with Russia, in counsel with Russia. I think that we ought to tomorrow de-recognize the regime in Syria, recognize the Syrian national council as a legitimate government, announce a supply of arms, and work with them, because the real issue is who will emerge on top, and we want to have influence with the rebels who are as of yet seriously disorganized.

BAIER: State-run TV out of Damascus, Kasie, ran pictures of Bashar al-Assad swearing in a new defense minister, clearly showing, trying to show that he has a grasp after the decapitation bombing of his national security team. But it looks like the violence is only increasing.

KASIE HUNT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: It's a question of how much bloodshed we will see. To Charles' point about Assad likely falling, what you are seeing is a real test of whether or not President Obama style of behind-the-scenes maneuvering is actually going to achieve the goals that the U.S. wants in this particular case. We're going to see candidate Romney go to Israel in the coming weeks, and we will see whether or not he is willing to really articulate a policy in opposition to that.

BAIER: Steve, the underlying background here is the concern over chemical weapons that every intelligence agency says Syria has and has moved around in recent days. It's explosive.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I am concerned we are not doing enough on that issue and the post-Assad regime. By all accounts we are not ingratiating ourselves with the Syrian opposition in the manner we could. To the extent we work with the Syrian opposition, we work with the Muslim Brotherhood, not experience the kind of people we are likely to influence in a post-Assad world.

The big problem for the administration politically, this is not likely to be -- not likely to come up in debate. But this was an administration that campaigned on smart power. This is what they are supposed to do best.
And I think you can look at the Syrian, what has happened in Syria over the past 24 months, including the fact we sent an ambassador before the fighting began, and say it has been a failure of policy.

BAIER: So what happens now? What do you think the next days look like? Some people say the days of the Assad regime are numbered. We had some analysts saying it could be hours. But it seems like the pushback with the killing of almost 300 people may have changed the dynamic.

HAYES: Well, I think he has nothing to lose at this point. This is the problem. We talk about this on Tuesday night. The question is whether Bashar al-Assad will use chemical weapons and case late what we have seen across the country as ding lasting attempt to save himself. It would be delusional if he did it, but he has shown himself to be delusional.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think we have to declare chemical weapons and if any are used or given to terrorist elements, i.e., Hezbollah, it will meet with an immediate western reaction and either Israelis would act immediately if it's in the hands of Hezbollah. I think it would be a reason for the west to intervene immediately.

BAIER: That is it for panel.

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